How is a Wrongful Death Settlement Calculated?

Wrongful deaths may result from a number of different situations, but what makes a death “wrongful” is that the death was the result of someone’s negligent, reckless, or criminal behavior. Personal injury attorneys deal with the following types of wrongful deaths:

  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective product
  • Workplace accident
  • Intentional acts (regardless of whether or not criminal charges are filed)

While placing a dollar amount on someone’s life does not do anything to alleviate the grief of the surviving family members, wrongful death claims and lawsuits are settled by calculating what someone’s life was worth, but only its worth in the strictest legal sense.

The value put on someone’s life cannot possibly measure their worth or how much they were valued by society and those who loved them. But the legal system has to have some type of formula to figure out what surviving family members who have suffered a terrible loss should be compensated by the party responsible for the death.

Economic and Non-Economic Factors

A team of legal and financial professionals will take many things into consideration when calculating what to ask for in a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Economic factors can be easily calculated and would be things like the salary the deceased would have earned over the course of his lifetime. Non-economic damages are not tangible and an exact dollar amount is difficult to come by.

  • Age: How old the family member was at the time of his wrongful death is crucial in calculating how much income and financial benefits will now be lost due to the wrongful death.
  • Health: A great dollar amount would be attributed to the wrongful death of a young man or woman as they would have had many years, even decades, of earning ahead of them.
  • Income at the time of death: Several factors will be examined for this one including potential raises in their career, education that would have secured them a higher paying job, and their total income when they died.
  • Education and training: Those with more education and training have a larger earning capacity, in most cases.
  • Medical Costs: All medical costs directly related to the accident are calculated into the settlement (ambulance costs, hospitalizations, surgeries, follow-up care, etc.)
  • Funeral Costs: Reasonable burial and funeral expenses are calculated into the wrongful death settlement.
  • Future Benefits Lost: Future benefits that would have benefitted the family are considered (pensions and insurance)

Non-economic losses include:

  • Personal Life Value: How much did the deceased contribute to the family as a whole?
  • Losses without Costs: What companionship, guidance, and stability have been lost?

If you have recently lost a loved one in a wrongful death in New York or Florida, please us to schedule a no-cost consultation.


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